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Jim Ridl: Door Openings

By Published: February 24, 2004


To change the subject, I’m interested in your relationship with your wife, Kathy, who is a musician and also a graphic artist. She designs CD album covers for Dreambox Media. Tell us a bit about your wife and Dreambox.

JR: My latest three recordings are with Dreambox, which is Jim Miller’s record label. He’s a close friend and one of my favorite musicians to play with, and then Suzanne Cloud is a partner with him. Kathy’s done a number of their album covers. Kathy’s an amazing lady. I’ve know her since we met in college in 1978. We’ve been together since. We’ve been married over twenty-one years. She’s just awesome. I’m very blessed to be with her. She’s just a great musician, very gifted on bass, viola. A wonderful jazz player, singer, songwriter, composer. She’s done her graphics work for nine or ten years, producing 55 or 60 CD’s. On Interchange, Pat’s CD, and Night Wings that’s her painting. She’s amazing. I love her artisitic involvement on my recordings. I’ll have to show you some of her paintings here in our house.

AAJ: So Kathy is creative both musically and visually. By the way, the first Blue Note album covers- now considered classics- were designed by Gil Melle, himself a musician.

JR: Kathy comes from a musical family- both her parents taught at Westminster Choir College. She’s the youngest of five, just like me, but she grew up amid classical and choral music. In fact, everyone in her family plays stringed instruments and/or sings.

AAJ: What do the two of you do to relax?

JR: We have similar interests across the board. Since we have such an erratic schedule, we don’t do the same things regularly. When we can, we like to go to jazz and classical concerts, to hear music and talk about it. We also enjoy getting into New York from time to time just to hang out. When we can take vacations, we like to go to Santa Fe, and lately it’s been to see family. Kathy likes the wide open spaces like North Dakota. If we ever relocate, it will probably be out West. She likes farming, being with the cattle. It’s pretty cool. We share so much. I’m really lucky.


AAJ: What are some future directions you’ve got in mind?

JR: There are quite a number of things. I have enough material to do a second recording like A Door in a Field. What I’d really like to do, if I can get the proper backing, is some orchestral writing to go with the music I’ve been working on. That’s a project in itself. First I’ve got to promote the A Door in a Field CD. Another project I’d like to do is to take my ballads like “Sun on My Hands,” “Carry Me Home,” that I’d like to orchestrate with a vocal soloist, an “art song” project, semi-classical. It would also be nice to do a “standards” recording, just to play. I’d like to do the music of Jobim. And I have a couple of piano pieces I’d like to compose. For instance, I’ve improvised a lot on Beethoven’s “Pathetique” sonata. I’m working on a jazz version of the “Pathetique”. I’d like to follow through on a number of classical pieces done in my interpretation in a jazz sense. I also want to work with Kathy on doing her music, however she wants to work it. At some point, we’d like to get some studio equipment here in our home to record some things of good enough quality to release.

AAJ: Do you do anything with synthesizers?

JR: I own a couple of them and have done some things with Dave Liebman’s Big Band. Actually, we’ll be at Birdland with that band in November. It’s all his music- very daring and daunting! We’ve recorded on Omnitone. This past Spring, my connection with Dave grew. He’s so advanced, his harmonic sense is so difficult, that, like, “What do I play here?” Took me a while to get to where he could enjoy my playing, and Dave joined us in my gig at the Deerhead Inn. The following night, we played an awesome “Duet” gig in New York. So I grew quite a bit musically working with Dave.

AAJ: Dave is an incredible musician, and very articulate as an educator. You’re each splendid performers and spokespersons for your profession, each in your own unique way. Thanks so much, Jim, for having me over to your place and for such a sincere, heartfelt, and wide-ranging interview.

Visit Jim Ridl on the web at .

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